Meet the Ukraine Support Hub offering hope to refugees in Sheffield

Meet the Ukraine Support Hub offering hope to refugees in Sheffield

Meet the Ukraine Support Hub offering hope to refugees in Sheffield

A recent Open Day at St Mary’s Bramall Lane has highlighted the need for help and support to those fleeing Ukraine, and the response in the Diocese has been positive

Our Ukrainian Support Hub at St Mary’s Church in Bramall Lane is helping to offer guidance to refugees who have fled Ukraine because of the Russian invasion.

The Hub opened in May and is a social meeting place where Ukrainians can be together, and can also learn and share information. As well as providing light refreshments the Hub provides very practical support with English Language classes, meditation and a learning space for children. There are also discussion groups on practical topics such as using the NHS. This is a vital connection point for new arrivals especially.

When the Hub opened at the end of May we anticipated that about 30 people would attend, but over 100 Ukrainians are using it every week. With financial support from The Diocese, St Mary’s and Sheffield City Council the group have set up a project running from St Mary’s. There has also been a commitment of further support from Sheffield University and local businesses.

An Open Day was held here on Saturday 18th June to offer more information about the project, and was organised by the newly formed Sheffield Branch of the Ukrainian Association of Great Britain. The group was set up in response to the tragic events in Ukraine so that Ukrainian’s fleeing to Sheffield will be well supported.

The Open Day was a chance for some funders and allies to express their support and sample Ukrainian culture. There was a huge buffet of incredible food and musical entertainment as well as speeches. Nearly 200 people attended and while the event was emotional at times, the music and food were really well received.

The project has been receiving donations of clothes and other essential items for some time now, with the supplies now available in a (free) “shop” at St Marys which is open for set hours during the week. On Saturday’s the Support Hub runs between 11 and 1.

It is hoped that the recently held Open Day held here will help continue to keep the situation in the forefront of people’s minds as well as bring awareness of the service and the need for support. The Project has funding only until the autumn and while there is the aspiration to enhance support (for example with trips and childcare), a lack of money restricts what is possible.

However, the Hub will be running most Saturdays over the summer and St Mary’s will continue to work with the Ukrainian Association to try and help those who have had to flee their country because of war.

Here are some quotes below from attendees:

Kevin Straughan Head of Lifelong Learning and Skills, People Services Portfolio, Sheffield City Council: "I was greatly honoured to share such a special moment with our guests and new friends. It was very moving but also demonstrated the solidarity and passion of the Ukrainian people".

Tina Sampson-Smith, founder of the Ukrainian friendship hub at Norton Lees
Today was amazing, so thankful for the open day so people can see how beautiful your community is.

Alyona Turlova, a refugee from Mariupol, Ukraine: "It is important to give people Light even when it is dark!"


For more amazing photos please visit the link below of the event photographer Bill Stewardson
https://www.flickr.com/photos/greying/albums/72177720299931900/with/52159532358/